Plant Heritage seeks donations for vital plant conservation work

Company: Plant Heritage

Between 18th – 25th April, leading horticultural conservation charity Plant Heritage is calling for members of the public to support their ongoing plant conservation work as part of the Big Give’s Green Match Fund campaign, which this year is focused on environmental issues and solutions.

Plants play a hugely important role in the fight against the biodiversity and climate crises we currently face. With an estimated 400,000 different types of plants in cultivation in the UK, each represents a significant opportunity to maintain and increase the biodiversity in our gardens and green spaces, which positively impact numerous other species and helps reduce the impact of a changing climate.

With this in mind, Plant Heritage is urging individuals and businesses alike to consider making a donation of any amount between 12 noon Thursday 18th – 10am Thursday 25th April, as any donation made within this period will be matched, doubling its impact. To donate, visit: All money received will help Plant Heritage drive forward its ongoing plant conservation work, enabling more people to discover, cultivate and share all types of plants across the UK and Ireland. This will ensure none become lost from our gardens and all continue to have a positive impact on biodiversity and the world we live in.

Gwen Hines, CEO of Plant Heritage, says: “Like all charities, we rely on the generous support of donors to continue our work. All donations made during the Big Give Green Match Fund campaign week will ensure that we can continue to safeguard the future of existing plant groups through our conservation programmes, which help to adapt to and mitigate against the challenges of climate change. The chance to have all donations up to £5,000 match funded between 18-25th April is a fantastic opportunity for a small charity like ours, so we really hope the public can support us if they are able to. Any donation, no matter how small, will be very gratefully received.”

The National Plant Collections are at the heart of Plant Heritage’s conservation work. There are now over 700 across the country, containing over 95,000 different plants. Each collection is a ‘living library’, protecting and keeping many different plant groups alive – no matter how well known or common. National Plant Collections come in all shapes and sizes, from miniature orchids to towering oak trees, and are held by passionate individuals, families, botanical gardens, plant nurseries and arboretums, but they can also be found in more unusual locations such as pub gardens, zoos, allotments and even a prison garden! New collections are accredited by Plant Heritage every season.

Plant Heritage also runs the Plant Guardian scheme, whereby individuals grow and nurture one or more rare and unusual plants either in their gardens, greenhouses, allotments or even on a windowsill. This voluntary role is perfect for anyone wanting to play an active role in the conservation of gardens plants, without holding a full National Plant Collection.

A prime example of a plant group that is thriving despite the UK’s changing climate is the National Plant Collection of Eryngium, cared for by Brian and Kathy Pike in Yorkshire. The prickly leaved and vibrantly coloured flower heads of Eryngium ovinum have earned it the common name of ‘blue devil’. Sadly, it is becoming increasingly scarce in its native southern Australia due to habitat loss, and, apart from the ones found in Plant Heritage’s National Plant Collection, it has almost disappeared from the British horticultural scene too. Thankfully, its long taproot means it is drought tolerant and it has also proved to be sufficiently frost-hardy too, surviving bracing Yorkshire winters. Being part of this National Plant Collection means the plant is protected in the UK, and protected against potential environmental issues in its natural habitat.  

Gwen continues: “We’re extremely grateful to our huge volunteer base, as they have been crucial to the success of Plant Heritage over the past 45 years. There are now over 400 National Plant Collection Holders, who each care for a particular plant group, and over 2,000 plants conserved within the Plant Guardian scheme across the country. Without their passion and dedication many of these plants would already have been lost forever. We’d also love to hear from anyone who perhaps can’t donate but would still like to help by becoming a National Plant Collection Holder or Plant Guardian.”

Plant Heritage champions and conserves garden plants to ensure they are conserved for future generations, especially those under threat from loss of habitat, climate change, emerging pests and diseases or changing trends. Founded in 1978, the charity has grown enormously into a thriving community of passionate National Plant Collection Holders, Plant Guardians, members and volunteers who together work to protect the UK’s precious horticulture.

Last year, Plant Heritage won Charity (Third Sector) Project of the Year at the prestigious UK IT Industry Awards 2023 for its innovative plant recording software system Persephone, which holds vital information about any plant, in any garden, anywhere. This year, Plant Heritage will exhibit at the world-famous RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival in July, showcasing a selection of National Plant Collections, plants on this year’s Missing Genera campaign list, and will announce the winners of both the Threatened Plant of the Year 2024 and the charity’s annual Brickell Award.

Should the charity reach its target of £5,000 (£10,000 once match funded), the funds will be used to continue recruiting more National Plant Collections and Plant Guardians, increase the number of plants held within both conservation schemes, implement succession plans to ensure that all plants and their information is safely recorded and ready to be passed down to the next generation when needed, and help to continue the charity’s Threatened Plants Research Programme. If successful, Plant Heritage will also encourage new dispersed National Plant Collections which can be held within community settings, such as in schools, residential homes and by other community-based groups. This not only helps mitigates against loss but also shares the responsibility of holding a collection.

To donate any amount during the Big Give Green Match Fund campaign (18-25th April), please visit: and to find out more about the ongoing conservation work of Plant Heritage, visit

Share this...
Next Article Back
Let us hear your thoughts on this article...

To see earlier stories - Look in the News Archive